Maynard James Keenan is notorious for his work with the band Tool. Those in the know however would also be aware of his ongoing music project, Puscifer. Puscifer is a creative outburst of Keenan’s energy that’s been around for quite a while and their latest release, Money Shot, builds on their catalog of musical fun. It’s a perfect dark release for the time of year and overall a solid listen.
Money Shot is a grungy, dark, wet dream. Keenan’s deep, lofty vocals mixed with some clever guitar work and a layer of electronic tones or a guest instrument make for an excellent listen. It’s definitively Puscifer –it’s Keenan a creative high. The album’s opening track, “Galileo,” is an excellent illustration of Keenan’s work. The song begins with some bassy tones and brisk rushes of rhythm. The vocals drift in like a chorus and carry the song alongside a distorted guitar melody. As the track continues onward and builds, it gains a certain intensity. The guitar becomes heavier, the track gains more texture, things begin to move along. The song is heavy and builds in all the right ways. “Galileo” is a very musical soundscape. Money Shot starts strong and stays strong.
About midway through the album, the listener is given a strange recording accompanied by a beautiful instrumental line. “Simultaneous,” tells the story of a fated meeting. A scoundrel and our storyteller. The instrumental line is simple, nondistracting, but a fair addition to the tale. Eventually the track hits climax, the band really kicks it up –it’s great. The song is poetic and feels like a scene out of the movie, Waking Life. It’s one hell of an experience. This becomes the common theme for the rest of the album –well planned ups and downs, intensely atmospheric and well thought out songs.
Truth be told, Money Shot may be a bit difficult to get into if you’re not a Puscifer fan. At first it can be abrasive, it sounds so familiar of some modern, darker, ambience filled rock music. Kneejerk reaction says it may as well be anything else. It’s beat. Keenan’s intricate work seems to be paramount to the album, however. Even if it’s generic, it’s good. As a general rule of thumb –don’t expect Money Shot to be some avant-garde master piece. It’s different, but it gives into some common tropes. That doesn’t make it any less good however –it’s a perfectly crafted album.
Puscifer’s Money Shot is an excellent listen. It’s dark, it’s deep, it’s grungy and it’s smart. While this is definitely not a groundbreaking album nor is it particularly dazzling as an accessible listen, it’s certainly perfect for fans of previous Puscifer works. If you’re looking for a nice, depressing album to accompany that seasonal affective –Money Shot is for you.